Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Vows to Continue Structural Reforms in 2014
Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov has outlined his priorities for 2014, stressing the need to continue reforms on various levels.
In a Thursday interview for Trud daily, Tsatsarov says that the priority goals include fast-tracking the work of the investigative authority, completing the structural reform, and active involvement of the prosecuting authority in the debates on the European Public Prosecutor's Office and its subsequent establishment.
He argues that investigators cannot be blamed for the low workload because they have suffered a series of legislative experiments over the past few years.
Tsatsarov insists, however, that the pace of work at the National Investigative Service has to increase because a record of three or four completed cases per year is not to be tolerated, regardless of their complexity.
He underscores that the investigative bodies must be an active part of an efficient prosecuting authority.
Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor informs that the first mobile investigative centers will start functioning in 2014.
He explains that the first units of this type will be launched in big cities which have ports and airports and attract a large number of tourists.
Tsatsarov upholds the statement of Evgeni Dikov, former acting Chief Prosector and current head of the National Investigative Service (NIS), that the investigative authority is in a state of waking coma, referring to it as an accurate description.
He reiterates his statement from end-December, at the time when Dikov was appointed head of the NIS, that Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council had appointed a person who would be tasked with "waking up" the investigative authority.
Tsatsarov goes on to mention the restructuring of Bulgaria's supreme prosecuting authorities in end-November, adding that the reform was aimed at separating the administrative functions from the activities of the prosecutors.
He specifies that the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation has had its departments reduced from 11 to 6, while the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office has 2 units, down by 1 from the previous 3.
He emphasizes that the reforms aimed at streamlining the administrative staff at the prosecuting authorities will continue from supreme units to regional offices.
Tsatsarov also boasts about the streamlined rules of procedure of the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation.
He informs that a new specialized unit consisting of prosecutors and officials of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) has been functioning since October, adding that it is an independent body tasked with inspections on tip-offs about crimes committed by judges, prosecutors and investigators.
He adds that the specialized unit now includes three prosecutors from the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office and officials of the DANS unit specialized in combating corruption in the judiciary and three investigators are yet to join its staff.
Tsatsarov points out that the unit is controlled by the Chief Prosecutor and the Sofia City Prosecutor, while the operational management has been assigned to a prosecutor from the newly created specialized unit at the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation.
As regards the upcoming report of the European Commission on Bulgaria under the co-operation and verification mechanism, which is due in mid-January, he says that he is a moderate optimist and that it will simply reflect what has already been mentioned in domestic institutional and media analyses.
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Tsatsarov looks like he'll soon be in a coma himself if he doesn't lay off the Banitza. All talk no action. The whole "judicial" system seems to have been in a permanent coma for a very long time to date. How about getting on with some prosecuting and convictions for real. I could give you a very long list to start off with.